Alejandro Jodorowsky Talks "El Topo" and "Holy Mountain" on Blu-ray
In 1970, world cinema was turned on its head by Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's surrealistic Western El Topo. A violent fable about an unbeatable gunfighter (played by Jodorowsky) who loses his humanity to gain enlightenment, El Topo drew inspiration from a dizzying array of sources, including Zen Buddhist tracts, Antonin Artaud's "Theater of Cruelty," the films of Jean Cocteau and Sergio Leone and the art of Salvador Dali. Its head-spinning melange of arthouse and grindhouse tropes made it a sensation among the cognoscenti of the counterculture (most notably, John Lennon and Yoko Ono) and helped to kick off the "midnight movies" scene of the early '70s. Jodorowsky would follow El Topo with The Holy Mountain (1973), a equally dense-layered fantasy about a mystic (Jodorowsky again) who leads the six "most powerful people" on Earth to the title location, where they hope to unlock the secrets of the immortals.
Though Jodorowsky made several films after this powerhouse duo, including 1990's Santa Sangre, none would capture the imagination of the movie-going public like El Topo and Holy Mountain. Unfortunately, few could see the films following their initial theatrical runs; rights issues kept them in limbo for decades until they were released by ABKCO and Anchor Bay on DVD in 2007. On April 26, both entities will present Blu-ray editions of El Topo and Holy Mountain. To commemorate the occasion, Amchair Commentary spoke with Alejandro Jodorowsky via phone at his home in Paris, where he imparted his unique, decidedly frank (and possibly NSFW) views on his masterworks, the Blu-ray releases and his much-discussed future projects.